. . . not at least until you’ve read Susan Faludi’s fascinating review of radical feminism in the late 1960s and early 70s and one of its stars, Shulamith Firestone.
One of the recurrent themes in modern history is the association between revolution and mental illness–as both a political attack from the right and as a lived reality. Some of the most radical Whigs in the American Revolution–the kind who supported women’s rights, for example!–were accused of suffering from revolutionary spirit as from a mental illness, the “contagion of liberty.” James Otis, Jr., for example, the ardent Whig and brother of Mercy Otis Warren, was one of them.
So too radical feminism had its visionaries who, as Faludi suggests, “helped to create a new society. But [Firestone] couldn’t live in it.” After struggling with mental illness for at least thirty years, Firestone’s body was discovered last summer in her Greenwich Village apartment apparently several days after her death: Continue Reading »